Joana completed her PhD in Neuroscience in 2014 and trained as a CIHR postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, Canada (2014-2018). Between September 2018 and March 2022 she joined the emotion lab as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience. In 2022, she joined the University of Exeter as a lecturer.
The overarching goal of her research is to investigate the impact of phylogenetically conserved emotional processes on human social behaviour. She is especially interested in understanding the role of defensive emotional states (fear and anxiety) on interpersonal behaviours of varying complexity, ranging from the instinctual regulation of personal space, to more complex social and moral decisions. She address these questions using behavioural testing, psychophysiology and functional neuroimaging.